It’s all well and good coming to market with a single product, hoping that the consumer will catch on and be prepared to be limited to what you think are the ideals. But if you really want to make a splash anywhere, variety is the spice of life. And that is what EPOS | SENNHEISER are attempting with their gaming headsets – multiple varieties, each with slightly differing options that will ensure that the millions of gamers out there are able to find a headset that suits. The EPOS | SENNHEISER GSP 500 headset utterly proves that.
The middle-of-the-road branding that the 500 range deals with sees it sitting behind the superb GSP 600 series – with our favourite being that of the GSP 602 – yet ahead of the cheaper, more cheerful, more throwable GSP 300. Whilst you may think that middle ground means that the GSP 500 comes complete with a host of extras over the cheaper option, but doesn’t quite do enough to compete with the more expensive range, you’d be wrong. For this is a headset that will happily go toe-to-toe with EPOS | SENNHEISER’s top of the range Xbox-compatible cans.
To the naked, untrained, eye, it could be said that the EPOS | SENNHEISER GSP 500 headset is a carbon copy of the 600, and the glorious black and red colourway could see it sit side-by-side with the GSP 600 quite easily. But this comes with one subtle difference – open-back audio. If that is what you are after with your next headset, what EPOS | SENNHEISER have on offer should be one to get you excited.
I’ll be honest, from hands on time with both the 602 and the 500 (and the 300, for that matter, but we won’t bring that into the equation this time around), it is the total immersion of the 602 that I’m most impressed with. But as I mentioned in my review of that exact headset, it won’t be for everyone and others around me have confirmed that they don’t like the pressurized feel that headset delivers. That is why the 500 is so important. You see, the open-back cups that this comes to market with ensure that even though you can always take in the most minute details of the game you are playing – or the sounds you are listening to should you be using it for music – you will always be aware of what is going on around you. Voice and noise from the same room come in and can be heard without issue, and this comes in extra handy for when the postman comes delivering gifts and the dog wants you to know that he’s there.
However, I don’t believe this open-back design really lets you get as fully involved in your gaming sessions quite as much as the closed route of the 602, but should you live alone, or just want to ensure that at all times you can have some kind of grasp on what is happening around your ears, this one allows it.
Thankfully though, due to it coming with the same dimensions, a slightly lower weight, and all the same features as the GSP 600 – extendable headband, tightening sliders to ensure perfect fit, flip-to-mute mic, dialable volume control – the base elements found here more than provide a good feel, fit and, above all else, sound.
The soft fabric earcups are jam-packed full with 40mm drivers, and with the volume dial easily situated on the right earcup, the sound you can find from the GSP 500 is rich, abundant and full. Honestly, that’s all you want from any headset – let alone a gaming headset – and the past decades of history that are attached to the Sennheiser brand proves its worth right here. Bereft of any other form of features in the way of fancy buttons, equaliser settings or wotnot, and the GSP 500 from EPOS | SENNHEISER just does a great all-round job of getting the audio to your ears with minimal fuss. The sound out is just as good, utilising the hefty old flip-to-mute mic in ways that will see your voice projected out to the welcoming world in the very best of ways. I was more than happy with this mic in the GSP 602, and I’ll quite happily sit waxing lyrical about it again here. Teammates, friends, colleagues and family have had absolutely no issues with my dulcet tones when wearing the GSP 500. And when I don’t want them hearing what is going on in my life, flipping it up to mute all outgoing noise is the simplest way to achieve anything.
For many though there could be a bit of a sticking point with the EPOS | SENNHEISER GSP 500 headset. And that is the fact that this is a wired headset. Coming complete with a removable cable, and ending in an angled 3.5mm jack, the positives to this aspect is that this headset can be utilised across multiple formats with ease; plug, play, rinse, repeat. There is no need for any fancy initial setup, and there is no worry of diminishing battery levels as you play. As long as your controller has juice, you’re good to go. I’ve got no issues at all with this cable: it is nicely braided, fails to ever get in knots, and is just the right length at roughly 140cm to ensure it never gets tangled in unwanted ways. But that does mean you get the get up and go that wireless headsets allow, and if you’re one of those gamers who is constantly up and down like a jack in the box, I can understand why this may not suit. Personally, it’s a single cable, and I don’t have to worry about battery levels. In my eyes that’s the win right there.
The EPOS | SENNHEISER GSP 500 headset is also a rather hefty old lump, running a near mechanical-like aesthetic – much like all of the EPOS | SENNHEISER ranges in fact. Again, I love this look, and I think it looks great on the head, but the sheer bulk that it comes with, when mixed with the 358 grams of stated weight and stunning hinges on the earcups, may again mean it won’t suit all. It’s not heavy as such, but it’s also far from the lightest of units that I’ve had the pleasure of using over the years. But hey, you will know exactly what you’re getting yourself into from a single look at the box.
So, the EPOS | SENNHEISER GSP 500 headset. Is it worth a look? Yes, by all means you’ll want to put this on your consideration list for when you next go headset shopping, and if you like the feel, look and sounds produced by the open-back cups, you’re going to be well sorted. For myself, I’d go with the slightly more expensive GSP 602 – not only do I prefer the closed-back system which I feel allows more immersion, but the dark blue and tan colour that comes with means it is quite possibly the best looking headset on the market today.
Whatever you decide though, it’s clear – EPOS | SENNHEISER have got you covered in the gaming headset market. In more ways than one.
Massive thanks go out to EPOS | SENNHEISER for sending over their GSP 500 headset for unboxing and review. If you’re sold on this open-back design and want to give the 500 a whirl, head over to EPOS direct. You’ll find the GSP 500 available for around £179.99.